Buoyed by victories in recently concluded state assembly elections, it seems the BJP wants to repeat its magic in Delhi assembly polls too. After the Election Commission's announcement of poll dates for the national capital, the saffron party is leaving no stone unturned to get a clear majority.
The party seems to have understood that in order to get a clear majority, the party will need the support of people from every section of the society. The saffron party is facing criticism from all corners for failing to put a restraint over divisive remarks of its members and the opposition's anti-minority tirade. Hence, it has now decided to restore its confidence amongst the minority community in the national capital.
The BJP has reportedly decided to field a few Muslim faces in the poll bound Delhi to get minority votes in its favour. If BJP gives ticket to Muslims in Delhi, it will not be the first time that the party will be doing it. Even during the recently concluded Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections the party gave tickets to more than 30 Muslim candidates. Motto was clear i.e. to win as many Muslim votes as possible.
Delhi too has a considerable population of Muslims which no political party can ignore if it wants to achieve a complete majority. This is the reason why the BJP has associated popular Muslim face like former Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi with it. Two more former AAP candidates Shakeel Anjum Dehlavi and Farhana Anjum have also joined the party fold.
Both these candidates were fielded byAAP from Matiya Mahal and Ballimaran, respectively. They were denied tickets by AAP this time. If reports are to be believed the saffron might even field them from their respective constituencies.
Even induction of a face like former IPS officer Kiran Bedi will prove a masterstroke for the BJP. Bedi is popular amongst people of all classes. Her clean and blemish-free track record both as a cop and as a social worker will surely prove a game changer for the BJP. Even Christians, angry with the saffron party, will vote for a candidate like Bedi.
Why Muslim voters cannot be ignored in Delhi?
Chandni Chowk, Matiya Mahal, Ballimaran, Vikaspuri, Mutafabad, Gandhi Nagar, Seemapuri and Babarpur are the seats in Delhi where nearly 61 per cent of Muslim population lives.
In Shahdara, Sangam Vihar, Badarpur, Trilokpuri, Sadar Bazaar, Karawal Nagar, Ghonda and Gokulpur are the constituencies where nearly 20 per cent Muslim population lives.
As per the current situation, Muslims can affect the results of 17 assembly constituencies in the entire capital state as there are 15 to 61 per cent Muslim voters here.
Of these, maximum seats were in Congress's hand while only two seats, namely, Kiradi and Babarpur were with the BJP.
Developments in the past show Muslims are annoyed with the Congress and they feel betrayed by the grand old party of India. This has given rivals BJP and AAP, who are the front runners in the Delhi Assembly polls, an opportunity to cement their position amongst minority voters.
Trilokpuri riots, pro-Hindutva remarks dented BJP's image in Delhi
During Lok Sabha polls minority votes were seen leaning towards AAP and that is the reason why BJP has decided to woo this section. The BJP, which is in power at Centre, had to face the ire of minority community after communal riots broke out in Delhi's Trilokpuri.
The Bawana incident during Muharram, issue such as Love Jihad, conversion and provocative statements from various BJP and right wing leaders have only widened the gap between the BJP and minority.
The recent attacks on churches have also angered the Christian community in the capital state. BJP fears Christian votes may not deflect towards AAP or others. By inducting minority faces into its fold the party wants to bridge the gap with these disgruntled communities.
Hence, it will be interesting to see whether inducting minority faces and fielding them will turn out a trump card or prove a vain effort like J&K polls, in which all but one BJP candidate managed to win.